Wednesday, December 28, 2016
Except when barred by one conqueror or another, Jews had lived in Jerusalem since King David. Prior to Jordanian rule in 1948, there was a Jewish majority for 150 years. In 1864, eight thousand of the fifteen thousand population was Jewish. By 1914, two thirds of the sixty five thousand residents were Jewish. In 1948 the United Nations Partition Plan divided the British Mandate of Palestine into two states, one Jewish and one Arab. Jerusalem was to be initially an international city, with access guaranteed for all. This plan was rejected by the surrounding Arab nations, which attacked Israel in concert immediately upon the UN vote. When the truce was declared, Israel had survived, but East Jerusalem(walled Old City) was in procession of TransJordan. The Jordanians subsequently destroyed over 50 synagogues in the Jewish Quarter, which dated back to the 1400's. For hundreds of years both Christians and Jews were prohibited from building higher than Muslim structures. The few synagogues which survived were the ones built mostly below street level. The oldest surviving synagogue, The Jerusalem Synagogue, was built by the Karaite Jews in around 900. Shown above is the Ben Kakai, a Sephardic Synagogue built in the 16th Century.
Perhaps the most famous synagogue destroyed by the Jordanians was the Ashkenazi Hurva Synagogue built in 1720, it's dome visible in the top center of this photograph from the 1920's. It's replacement was completed in 2010.
Monday, November 28, 2016
When Jill Stein campaigned for President she defended herself against taking votes away from Hillary. She claimed that Hillary was just the status quo, and not really progressive. The Green Party is now saying that they're not doing the recount for the benefit of any one candidate, but for democracy. Well, we know that they're not doing it for Jill, because she only got about 1% of the vote. She is now getting more contributions for the recount than her campaign generated. She has become a willing tool for those despondent over Hillary's loss. Clinton's campaign staff will be on the ground monitoring the recount.
Trump's victory was pure democracy. He had no get out the vote organization, no ground game. If history will show any shenanigans in the 2016 election, it will be in this recount, not on November 8th. As someone who ran himself for office twice as an independent, I find this action disappointing. It depreciates the Green Party to the children's Junior Achievement section of the Democratic Party. In essence, Stein is a front for Hillary to recant her concession. Jill Stein's legacy will be the confirmation of Trump's victory, instead of the principles on which she had run.
Tuesday, November 8, 2016
On Sunday morning, a black power broker from Philadelphia stated that Pat Toomey has done nothing for the black community in Philadelphia. A journalist present, explained that Toomey has been the leading conservative Republican for gun control, while shootings have taken the lives of almost three hundred blacks a year in the City of Brotherly Love. The black broker replied, but Toomey hasn't come to their churches, and spoken directly to them.
President Obama came Monday night, and not only spoke, but preached to the choir. His sermon even had a well rehearsed amen in the background. His supporters claim that he is a legal scholar, but all I heard was a politician, promoting another one. Obama started out at the Democrat convention twelve years ago, as an eloquent speaker promising hope and change. Last night, he ended his career by wrongly claiming that United States is more respected now than before, and that its workers are better off. Although, he certainly remains as eloquent of a speaker as ever, and he may still even inspire hope, he certainly brought no change. In addition to Hillary, his sermon gifted McGinty, who besides being one of ten children, appears to have no qualifications.
There will be free rides in Philly today, just call Uber, and say that you're a cog in the vote machine. Additionally, a settlement was forced upon the SEPTA board, to maximize the turnout. Last night, Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen weren't the only showmen in Philadelphia.
Friday, November 4, 2016
As a gun owner, I'm a supporter of the 2nd Amendment. Although, that is a right which I defend, as an engaged citizen I appreciate living in a society of laws. There are rights and laws, and we can all live within them. I do not blindly consider every regulation as a curtailment of my rights, or as a slippery slope which will erode them. I can exercise my rights in a responsible manner, without purposefully provoking those who feel differently about this issue.
Each November the NRA sends it's current and former members a card telling them whom they should vote for in their district, to protect their 2nd Amendment rights. Although, their member magazine often features hunting rifles, the organization must also think of their members as sheep, who should only care about one issue. As Americans we should guard our right to own firearms, but never tolerate being told how to vote.
reprinted from December of 2014. Shown above is a 38 special, gifted upon Frank Sinatra by the Miami Beach Police & Firemen's Association.
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
The years have bestowed journalist status upon Wolf Blitzer. Last week, when he interviewed Kellyanne Conway, Trump's campaign manager, he asked her about the now infamous 2005 tape leak. Although, she stated that she had seen it, he proceeded to have the tape run for the viewing audience. He then had the tape rerun, between each question he asked her.
Last night, Melania Trump suggested to Anderson Cooper that the media is driving the salacious nature of this election, rather than the actions of her husband. To a large extent that is true. The media has fixated on these revelations, and have made them the issue. Years ago, in the era of Walter Cronkite, such accusations would have been considered off limits.
Certainly, Walter would not have run the tape over and over again.
Monday, October 10, 2016
Our political traditions become more cut-throat each election cycle. We now have what has become known as the October Surprise. In this election, Clinton has been aided by a press hostile to her opponent, and the Washington Post did Hillary's dirty work for her. By Saturday morning Donald Trump had replaced Hurricane Matthew as the headline. The tape released on Friday certainly didn't disappoint any Trump haters. It provided all the proof they needed that the candidate has arrested development in his attitude toward women. However, as vulgar as the tape was, our political system now has its own vulgarity. Besides hearing it in Trump's own words, was anything unknown revealed? Trump's video apology was done well enough. Although, rather stiff and scripted, he did indeed apologize, and promise to be a better person. He also shared the blame with the Clinton's, accusing Bill of numerous sexual improprieties, and Hillary of complicity in covering them up. We are no longer in the era of the Brady Bunch. While it seemed somewhat like a juvenile excuse to mention the Clintons, in truth. they had desensitized America to hanky panky by politicians, even in the White House.
From a ethical point of view, Trump's apology was inadequate, but this is politics. He managed to take the best shot against him, and essentially set the bar lower for himself with his upcoming debate with Hillary. He once again seemed to be best about making lemonade, if nothing else.
Trump, under incredibly adverse circumstances, spoke fairly well during the debate. Despite the infamous tape released just two days prior, despite a format aligned with Hillary's experience, Trump managed to hold his own, and even put Hillary on the defensive. However, Trump's new problem may well be the spectacle he conducted before the debate. Bringing out Bill Clinton's former accusers was anything but the contriteness recommended by those knowledgeable in damage control. His body language during the debate, although improved since the first encounter, also lacked discipline
Another consequence of the 2005 tape was that Trump, in addition to debating Hillary, has to contend with numerous Republicans disavowing support. As an independent, who is critical of partisanship, that jumping of ship amuses me. The first to jump were previously the last to support him. Some pundits are declaring the Trump ship dead in the water, and those on the undercard better jump to survive. I believe that they are confusing this election with a regular campaign. Trump's base will stand by, and those who have disavowed him may actually suffer. Trump has always been an independent, he was just running on the Republican ticket. The Democrats and the media just assumed that the tape would make Trump unacceptable to all but the most deplorable. I see no such movement by the public away from him. Americans appreciate a sense of fair play, and Trump may have actually gained some sympathy votes for the ploy against him. All in all, like a hurricane, it made for a messy aftermath.
To commemorate the Trump tape release, I have placed a poster on How To Train Your Wife on this blog's sidebar, visible on the web version. I should clarify that I too found the 2005 tape reprehensible. However, if I had supported Trump before its release, I would not change my vote because of it. Trump supporters had seen the nude pictures of his current wife and accepted the fact that he's a political Hugh Hefner. America has become jaded enough to know that Sunday school teachers don't win primary elections. The web site Politico was portraying the Trump supporters outside Trump Tower on Saturday as only the diehard wacko's. Many substantial supporters, wacko by no measure, are standing by Trump. Their opposition to politics as usual in Washington continues, and they still see Trump as a possible vehicle of change. Welcome to democracy in 2016.
Monday, October 3, 2016
The title for this post is derived from a comment submitted to a prior post. The commenter was hoping that the silent majority comes out from the shadows and votes for Trump, to begin to change the status quo. As an advocate for decades on local issues, I think that, unfortunately, the key word is silent, and if so, it doesn't matter if they are a majority or not. Now, I will say this; I believe that Trump has motivated a previous uninvolved citizen, and I believe that such people will come out and vote for him. The question is how big is that constituency? The Democrats do have an organized ground game. I think it's fair to say that the Trump camp is completely unorganized at getting out the vote. He is depending on individual volition, which doesn't have a strong track record when it comes to voting.
We are in an era where political fortune is determined by the entertainment industry. The liberals are willing to have their opinions shaped by the writers for Jon Stewart and SNL. Likewise, the conservatives look for guidance from Rush Limbaugh and other talk show disc jockeys.
I'm blessed by not being politically invested in this presidential election. When I go to breakfast the morning after, on November 9th, I will be equally entertained by both the happy camp winners, and the despondent losers.
Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Recently, I did a post on the liberal hysteria about Donald Trump. I put the piece on social media, and the group went crazy. Rather than discuss the media phenomena to which I was referring, they went right after Trump, as on cue. I believe that this hysteria is fueled by their perception that indeed Trump may win the White House. In another recent post, I questioned the validity of the local college poll, which had Mrs. Clinton ahead by 9 points. One week later, they report that the lead has shrunk to 3 points. I believe that one week later, they realized what fools they had made of themselves, and decided to be more honest in their new tally.
We then learned that Mrs. Clinton will be prepared for the debate. Two months ago, they considered the debate a joke, after all, Clinton went to law school, was a senator and Secretary of State. Then, we learn that she will be prepared. In other words, they lowered the expectations about her performance.
Last night, after the 90 minute rumble, the pundits agreed in unison that Hillary had won. They found her more presidential, and felt that Trump went down too many rabbit holes. They are wrong. Who won is who moves up and down in the polls. I believe that the upward move will be by Trump. The public is not satisfied with the status quo, and has lost faith in damn statistics. The case to be made was for change, and Hillary failed to convince that she could bring any.
Friday, September 23, 2016
I'm so amused at the liberals and their fear of Trump. They actually equate a victory by him with the end of the earth. Let me assure them that we will all still be here for the 2020 election, when they can again let their hysteria go wild.
It would be incorrect to interpret this post as pro-Trump, rather I remain amazed at the hostility towards him by the Clinton supporters. I see otherwise rational people pulling their hair out about his candidacy.
It is my intention to vote for Mr. Johnson. However, I will remain in the United States after whoever wins.
Thursday, September 22, 2016
While another immigrant terrorized NYC with bombs this past weekend, Obama told the United Nations that walls only imprison us. He is so in love with the sound of his own voice, that he doesn't understand how out of touch his words actually are. While his words didn't even electrify the choir to which he was preaching, outside that building, his words were totally off-key. He doesn't understand that Lady Liberty didn't mean to welcome blood hungry terrorists with meat cleavers. Pictured above a NYC cop, several days after being attacked by another terrorist just last week.
Obama is actively campaigning for Hillary Clinton. He did her no good with his UN speech.
Friday, September 16, 2016
As someone who is basically non-partisan, it has become more difficult to discern attempted truth in the news. Truth seekers must mix numerous sources, then go through an elaborate filtration process to distill small drops of it. We have come to rely on those sources which lie the least.
illustration credit: Ben Garrison@grrrgraphics